For the second day in a row now, I'm "stuck" working from home because of stupidity on the part of both Apple and FedEx.

You see, last week I ordered a second power adaptor for my Powerbook. Despite the fact that Apple really rapes you on the price ($80 for a power adaptor?! Is it gold plated?), I could really use a second one.

However, the Apple Store seems to send even the most trivial purchases via FedEx with a mandatory "signature required for delivery" option. But they don't tell you this up front, so if you do something like send it to your house instead of work, you end up getting screwed.


Because FedEx, unlike UPS, doesn't allow you to redirect a package to a second location after one or two missed deliveries. Sure, they leave you a little note with a phone number to call, but there's no way to get a human on the line using that number. And their web site is less than helpful in such matters.

I have some afternoon meetings today, so like yesterday I'll probably head in around 1:30 and miss FedEx again--not that they showed up at all yesterday.

Why can't other on-line retailers be more like I've spent thousands of dollars there over the years and have rarely had a shipping problem. And when I did, I was able to quickly get a human on the phone to solve the problem.

UPS, on the other hand, has let me do this several times. I just key in the number from the slip they left at the door, click a button, and then provide my alternate (work) shipping address.

Problem solved.

From now on, I'm sending all Apple Store purchases to work. Or I'll just visit the nearest Apple Store in person. In retrospect, that'd have been more convenient than this.

Posted by jzawodn at September 14, 2004 12:14 PM

Reader Comments
# John K said:

I just leave a note with my signature for FedEx on the door telling them to leave the package. They've left it every time.

on September 14, 2004 12:23 PM
# Barry said:

frys man, frys. thats where i got my adapter. genuine apple and i think it was only 75 after tax when i got it. sunnyvale has them for sure.

on September 14, 2004 12:35 PM
# Charles said:

You would have been better off buying a power adapter from, they're much better quality than the Apple product, and much smaller.

on September 14, 2004 01:00 PM
# Mark Beeson said:

Honestly I'd rather go through the hassle, rather than having Fedex just drop the package off and have it get pilfered by someone.

on September 14, 2004 01:08 PM
# Simon Willison said:

Useful tip for calling FedEx: when the voice activated thingy asks you which option you want, say "representative" and you'll be dropped through to a real human within seconds (presumably because no one knows that they're there, so no one ever talks to them). This worked for me a few months ago, and works for a whole bunch of other crappy automated phone systems as well.

on September 14, 2004 01:10 PM
# mike demers said:

I'd recommend having them deliver to a staffed FedEx location where they will hold it for you to pick up. These staffed locations are all over the place and are open late enough to let you swing by after work (usually until 8 or 9). You can get a list of locations in your area at their website.

I've had this same thing happen to me a few times and found this to be the only way to get around their delivery rules, short of wasting a vacation day.


on September 14, 2004 01:28 PM
# Jordan said:

I've gotten through FedEx's phone maze to a real (and surprisingly helpful) person just by pressing zero. This was about two months ago; does it not work anymore?

on September 14, 2004 01:47 PM
# Mellissa said:

I worked the 800 number for fedex for several years. dial the 800-go fedex number and hit 0 or say operator or representative, and they can request that the package be redirected.

I say 'request' because apple is hardcore. Their contract with fedex is super restrictive. They are the ones that dictates if fedex can leave it, or redirect it, or make any changes.

Oh, and the rep answers fast because that's a service point, that all calls be answered within 5 seconds.

on September 14, 2004 02:21 PM
# Chris Adams said:

Why not simply order it through Their pricing is usually the same or better and you can support sites which use their affiliate program at no additional cost (e.g. does this to defer their bandwidth costs).

on September 14, 2004 04:50 PM
# rayg said:

DevDepot has a compatible adaptor for $40:

on September 14, 2004 05:41 PM
# David July said:

I love that Amazon will ship via DHL so I can simply have items arrive directly to my Post Office box, allowing me to simply pick it up from the safety of a locked box whenever I have the chance. If that is not an option, I opt for leaving a signed note ahead of time as John K indicates he does.

on September 14, 2004 06:32 PM
# Anjan said:

Ditto on both - shipping and price of Apple adapters, mouse etc. This is just indicative of a lot of online retailers being obtuse. Maybe they think they live in a void.

I've been to sites that have strange shipping policies, almost no customer support. Last month I found out that does not ship to an address other than the billing address. So, I'm supposed to take the day off just to receive their shipment?!

I also ended up buying a second adapter for my Powerbook but being at a university meant I could walk over to our computer store and picking it out from the shelf. Since it was a office purchase, I didn't care about the price but for my $$ I would've gotten the targus adapter. Its $99 but but it has connectors for you car's cigarette lighter as well as well as airplanes.

on September 14, 2004 08:54 PM
# Fergus said:

After two months of waiting for my G5, FedEx attempts to deliver during my vacation (despite me having called them 3 times), and then send it back to Apple.

Apple need another 10 days to turn it around, then off it'll go again.

Three months for a G5, all because of the morons at FedEx.

on September 14, 2004 09:04 PM
# Martin Streicher said:

I ordered a new wireless mouse (to have one each for both of my wireless Macs) and UPS did the same thing, even though the very same delivery person is quite happy to leave a $1,000 area rug outside my garage. The mouse was $60.00. And no, the area rug isn't outside anymore.

on September 16, 2004 04:58 PM
# Jennifer said:

I've had to deal with this before myself. I finally just filled out the form on one of the back of the notices that said something
about "keep this waiver on file" and it offered me the option to let them leave EVERYTHING without a signature if I just agreed
not to hold them liable if they said it was delivered but I didnt get it. Never had a problem since. UPS won't do this
so I have to have all their stuff sent to my office. Boo.

on September 17, 2004 08:03 AM
# Matthew Drouin said:

I just ordered my first powerbook from Apple and I had the same kind of issue related to Fedex not even showing up. On Fedex site it said my package would be delivered on Sept 16th. So I check the 16th in the morning and it is on the truck out for delivery so I stay home all day waiting.

At 8pm I realize there is no way they are coming so I go to the gym. They end up showing up the next day and I was stuck in the house all day on the 16th for no reason.

on September 18, 2004 04:45 PM
# Guy Davis said:

Don't blame Fedex! Blame Apple!

I just had the same thing happen to me with Apple Canada. It's Apple that won't let Fedex release packages to people for pickup at their depot. I talked with the Fedex staff and they said Apple ties their hands. Every other company that I get things from via Fedex, allows me to stop by the local depot and pick it up.

Rather than take vacation time to sit at home all day waiting for delivery, I'm having the package sent to my father in-law who is semi-retired. Unfortunately, he lives 1.5 hours away by car. Talk about great customer service!

No other major computer company has this idiotic policy. Dell sure doesn't. So it really makes you wonder how Apple can justify it as "protecting" your product.

on September 23, 2004 07:13 AM
# Milan Ilnyckyj said:

I am now falling victim to the same problem and Apple says they will have to send my iPod to California, then refund me the money because Fedex always delivers the package at a time when nobody can be home. Did any of you convince Apple to renege and let you pick the thing up? If so, how?



on November 4, 2004 11:17 AM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Nope, I ended up waiting at home.

on November 4, 2004 12:51 PM
# Roylee said:

Me too waiting for a week for a pakage tracked it from China, took the day off so I could sign the darn form for dilivery and low and behold he left a door tag I didn't even hear the door bell or Knock I have a small condo you can hear it. Now I have to travel to a strange town to reteive my pakage. Whats up with like leave it with a friend next door or a Manager like UPS does.

on December 2, 2005 02:50 PM
# Larry said:

Just found this so I'll add my rant to it. Just ordered iLife directly from Apple. Unaware of their signature policy until it was mentioned in the shipping confirmation. Figured I'd sign the relase and that would be that but no, no signature releases. To pick it up from UPS meant driving an hour past an Apple Store no less. So I told UPS to sent it back and re-ordered it from Amazon for all of $1.50 more than it would be from Apple with my corporate ID.

Apple really needs to get in the real world - signature required for software under $100 is ridiculous. Apple said I'd get a full refund (shipping was "free"). Any deduction for shipping and I'll dispute it with the credit card company since by not clearly disclosing their signature policy until after shipping and then not even fully (no mention of no releases accepted) means there was, to use the language of contracts, no meeting of the mind as I would have never ordered from them if I had known their policy,

on February 27, 2006 08:35 PM
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